upstate economy

Work begins on Watertown's Woolworth building

Dec 5, 2013
Joanna Richards

Work has begun to revive a long-vacant eyesore at the center of downtown Watertown.

Chris Caya / WBFO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a $225 million state investment to create a new campus center of clean-energy on a former brownfield site in Buffalo.

The RiverBend project will create 850 new jobs at the former Republic Steel and Donner Hanna Coke site in south Buffalo along the city’s waterfront as part of the governor's "Buffalo Billion" promise.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The Innovation Trail is taking a look at how the thousands of refugees coming to upstate New York are weaving their way into the region's economy.

Turnout may be low this night because of first snow, Nicole Watts tells those gathered in her entryway. Even as she tries to explain this, there's a near steady knock on the front door.

Every Tuesday evening, this home at 129 Lilac Street on Syracuse's Northside turns into a community center.

Cameron Group, LLC.

The construction of a new college bookstore on the Syracuse University Hill is in danger of losing its tax break if construction doesn’t start in the next month.

The university and the developer it selected, Cameron Group, won over Syracuse’s city council and industrial development agency (SIDA) for approval of the deal in August 2012.

But since shovels still haven’t broken ground on the project a year later, the city’s economic development agency this week voted the project in default of its contract. The developer has another 30 days to begin work.

Stop I-81 Pipeline Group

Homeowners along an abandoned gas line across three central New York counties are getting advice about how to deal with gas companies who may come knocking.

The Millennium Pipeline Company is trying to get federal approval to build a 60-mile pipeline from the town of Onondaga down to the Binghamton area in order to connect several east-west natural gas pipelines. In order to do this, the pipeline company, which is an affiliate of National Grid among other energy companies, will need the help of homeowners.

Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO

Upstate New York cities take in around 90 percent of all current refugee resettlements in the state. All this week, The Innovation Trail is taking a look at how that diverse population has weaved its way into the region’s changing economy.

In Buffalo, a handful of students from countries all over the world are sitting in a class at Journey’s End Refugee Services. They are learning how to become janitors for local businesses. The group nods as a student explains an assignment to them.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Since 2004, upstate New York has taken 90 percent of all refugee resettlements in the state. This is the first part of the Innovation Trail reporting series looking at how upstate New York's refugee population is influencing the region's economy.

Utica has long seen itself as a city of immigrants. The arrival of Italians, Germans and Irish drove the city’s population to peak at around 100,000. During the mid 1970s in the wake of major changes to the city's industrial base and dwindling employment opportunities, the population fell by nearly half.

Zack Seward / WXXI

A group of suburban politicians and business owners that support keeping Interstate 81 running through the city of Syracuse are out with a poll they say shows most residents agree with them.

State kicks off Startup-NY tax-free program

Oct 23, 2013
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office / via Flickr

New York’s plan to attract new business and jobs to the state by offering them tax-free space at public colleges is underway. Officials Tuesday outlined for the first time specifics about how the program will work.

They tried to lay out the plan as simply as possible:

"There’s no fine print. There’s no trips and traps, caveats; there’s no taxes," said Executive Vice President of Startup-NY Leslie Whatley in a conference call with reporters.

Lockheed Martin / via Flickr

Workers at Lockheed Martin sites in central New York and the Southern Tier are being hit with another round of layoffs, but the company says the move is not tied to the government shutdown that just ended.

A total of 600 workers across the country will be out of a job early next month, according to the defense contractor.

Google Maps

Some abandoned prisons in the upstate area could become home to start-up companies under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Start-Up New York initiative.

The initiative aims to provide major incentives for companies to relocate, develop, or significantly expand in New York by offering state and local tax-free zones on university and college campuses.

baristaj9 / Flickr

Three upstate wineries have come together to create an import-export company designed to increase Finger Lakes wine sales in Europe. The new company, called New York Wines, will be registered in Belgium and the partners are hoping it will help to increase sales at home as well as abroad.

John Martini, president of one of the vineyards, the Anthony Road Wine Company, says the costs associated with overseas shipping can be prohibitive for a single winery. But shipping produce from several wineries in bulk makes it cheaper at both ends, he says.

Upscale hotel coming to Syracuse's Inner Harbor

Oct 4, 2013
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

An upscale hotel chain has signed on as the first tenant in the redevelopment of Syracuse's Inner Harbor.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced Thursday that will build an $18 million, 130 room "Aloft" hotel at the former barge canal, as part of a larger redevelopment of the now rarely used site.

In all, COR Development is working on a $350 million overhaul of the site. It plans more commercial and residential space.

Doug Kerr / Flickr

While the focus has been on the partial federal government shut down, another important piece of legislation, the federal farm bill, has also expired.

New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton said this is the third time in three years he’s seen negotiations go down to the wire and beyond on farm legislation that regulates crop subsidies, milk prices, and nutrition programs.

"It’s like déjà vu all over again," Norton said in a statement.

Another anti-gambling group has released a study debunking Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature’s claims about the benefits of permitting more casino gambling in New York.  So far opponents have been more vocal than supporters about the November 5 ballot referendum.

It’s taken 13 years, but an upstate New York company, Logical Images, has finally received a patent for the software that runs its visual diagnostic system. The tool is used by physicians to lower the rate of diagnostic errors. Though the company says the patent was vital to their commercial viability and the protection of their product, not everyone thinks software should be patentable.     

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The one phrase that kept coming up at Friday's New York State Senate hearing on regulatory reform in Syracuse, was "death by a thousand cuts." Manufacturers were the focus today as lawmakers travel around the state trying to identify regulations that are getting in the way of business.

One of the regulations State Sen. John DeFransisco called asinine at today's hearing, springs from the Wage Theft Prevention Act. Employers are required to provide employees with a yearly notice regarding their compensation, information that is already on their paycheck.

WBFO

An upstate pro-business group says regions of the state north of Westchester need special attention in the coming months to help the floundering economy. The group Unshackle Upstate is proposing a series of tax cuts, as well as a start to hydrofracking as the remedy.

New York in the World: Interview with Jonathan Bowles

Aug 23, 2013

The SUNY Levin Institute’s New York in the World report was prepared by the Center for an Urban Future headed by Jonathan Bowles. Bowles sat down with Garrick Utley to discuss the current state of New York's economy, and its future.

Garrick Utley:  Jonathan Bowles, you and your team worked on this report New York and the World for a long time. You examined the state of New York, the city of New York. What impression did you come away with in terms of the state of New York in the world today?

Stu Gallagher / New York State Fair

The 2013 edition of the New York State Fair opens on Thursday, drawing hundreds of thousands of fairgoers to the Geddes fairgrounds during the 12-day exposition.  

In recent years, there has been more of a focus on agriculture at the State Fair, and State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine says there's more evidence of that at this year's event.

Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO

A western New York business is creating terra cotta architectural features with the help of the latest technology. The objects are an important element in restoring and maintaining historic buildings, and building new ones.

The work done at Boston Valley Terra Cotta dates back to the late 1800's. The gargoyles, statues, and feature tiles they create can be seen on buildings like Grand Central Station, the Philadelphia Public Library, and the Poptahof in the Netherlands.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

For a recent mid-week doubleheader against the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Syracuse Chiefs baseball team announced an attendance of 6,119 at NBT Bank Stadium - a number based on tickets distributed, not people through the turnstile.

The following night an announced crowd of 10,842 came out to the ballpark. A glance around the 11,000 seat stadium on both days would suspect much smaller actual crowds.

Last season the Triple A affiliate of the Washington Nationals drew an average of 5,288 fans to the ballpark, their lowest since the 2004 season.

Governor Andrew Cuomo/flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in the Finger Lakes on Tuesday playing host to restaurant owners and chefs from New York City and around the state.

The latest in a string of initiatives aimed at promoting upstate produce, the event was designed to showcase the region’s wines and foster downstate partnerships.

Cuomo says increased emphasis on the region’s quality produce has been a long time coming. But it’s proving to be good for business.

grilled cheese/flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it’s now up to the voters to decide whether they want to expand gambling in New York. He’s signed into law a plan to build casinos upstate, but the public must approve a change in the state’s constitution in order for it to move forward.   

The new law permits up to four gambling casinos in upstate New York, as long as a referendum on November’s ballot is approved to amend the state’s constitution to allow the expanded gambling.

Cuomo says it will be up to the voters to decide.

NYS Governor's Office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in the Adirondack Park yesterday, where he joined some of the state's most powerful politicians and business leaders on a whitewater rafting trip down the Indian River.

Cuomo says his "Adirondack Challenge," held in the town of Indian Lake, is meant to draw attention and more visitors to destinations in Upstate New York.

"I want to expose this part of the state of New York," Cuomo said. "It is a magnificent part of the state, as you can see. Tourism is a big business for us, it's a big part of the economy and this has great potential."

A century ago, New York could claim that much of its liquor was local, thanks to distilleries large and small that supplied a lot of the whiskey, gin and rum that kept New York City (and the rest of North America) lubricated. Then Prohibition arrived and the industry largely dried up, before trickling back to life in the 21st century.

Now, distillers in New York state are toasting a revival 80 years in the making.

The Syracuse region now has the best consumer confidence for metropolitan regions in upstate New York, as buyers there are finally starting to feel like this year’s economy will be better than the past one.

Consumer confidence was still the highest in New York City for the past three months, according to a consumer confidence index tabulated by the Siena Research Institute.

Minority trades training program comes to Syracuse

Jun 28, 2013
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A new job training program is hoping to boost minority employment in construction and trades in the Syracuse area.

The city of Syracuse is putting its backing behind the workforce training program run by the National Association of Minority Contractors.

Otis Jennings, president of the local chapter of the association, brought the program to Syracuse. He says the best part of the program is the training is standardized and participants can take the certificate anywhere.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is hoping a three-pronged agenda can revitalize a shrinking economy across upstate New York.  In Syracuse on Thursday, Cuomo touted a Financial Restructuring Board that will help struggling local governments, a proposal to bring resort gaming upstate, and START-UP NY as ways to jump start an upstate economy that's been losing jobs for years. The START-UP NY plan will make SUNY campuses entrepreneurial tax-free zones, that the governor says will help keep new businesses in the state.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse lawmakers have begun weighing the economic benefits and potential uses of drones with the surveillance and privacy concerns that arise simultaneously.

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